Having been both a music journalist and a musician myself since my high school days in the 90’s, my journey through this industry has been epic and winding. My first festival, as a musician, was the Boom ’n’ Blast in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A now-defunct teen band competition in my hometown’s central park, with a stage and a sound system worthy of household names, it made me feel like I had already reached the big leagues. However, they were still decades away. My first international festivals included Zandari Festa in Seoul, which I attended as an artist, and Music Matters in Singapore which I covered as a music journalist; the former operating on a mission statement similar to that of the original SXSW festivals (with an eye on showcasing the best in independent talent) and the latter hosting headliners like Pentatonix; the hot topics of the moment.
In 2018, my acoustic singer-songwriter duo, nature airliner, had the honour of being selected to perform at Liverpool Sound City; an industry showcase festival which featured Ed Sheeran as a rising star in 2011, and which continues to prove its mettle by hosting world-class networking events, keynote speeches and performances by indie stars like Superorganism. In the birthplace of the Beatles, my inner fire was stoked further, and I aspired to somehow be lifted up to the highest echelons of the game. My wish was granted much sooner than I imagined it would be; this spring I joined the Fujirock.com English team for the 2019 edition of Fuji Rock; one of the planet’s premier music festivals, and the largest outdoor music festival in Japan.
It’s an ideal time to attend, be it as a journalist like myself, as a musician like stars on the roster, or as a fan; like many of you reading this today. The Cure are fresh from their induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, and gearing up for an anniversary tour behind the (arguably) best album of their career; Disintegration. SIA will perform with the young dancer who helped propel her to fame in music videos. And, Radiohead’s visionary figurehead, Thom Yorke, will play music from his second solo album, “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”. Indie legends Death Cab for Cutie and Ging Nang Boyz return with an appeal defying member changes, and the reappearance of the Chemical Brothers proves the masses still crave their block-rocking beats. I, myself, am honoured to take part, bringing you interviews and blogging from ground zero. If you like, drop me a line or just say “hi”. It’s going to be a brilliant time. See you onsite!
Text: Laurier Tiernan
Photo Credit: Gerilee McBride